They don’t call him “Prime Time” for nothing. The Jim Thorpe Award-winning NFL vet and current head coach at Mississippi’s Jackson State University, Deion Sanders, has quite an impressive resume. However, his heroic feats on the field and mentoring to college athletes is not without its drawbacks.
The Baltimore Ravens retiree announced he had to undergo surgery following a fight with three life-threatening blood clots, Sports Illustrated reports. While his surgery was a success, it cost him his big toe and second one both on his left foot. He gave audiences details on the procedure on the YouTube series “Coach Prime” that chronicles Sanders’ journey as an HBCU coach.
After calmly explaining the discomfort he felt wearing shoes and receiving shots to relieve the pain, Sanders’ medical team provided him options for better functionality and use of his left foot. The first option was to remove a bunion with “hopes” of improved optimization. However, the news of removing his toes leaving him as an amputee caused a pause for the NFL veteran.
Sanders surgery required him to have a three-week stay at a Mississippi hospital making the Tigers wonder if their coach would miss the game against Division II school Delta State; the team went on to win 17-24 with “Coach Prime” calling plays on the sideline.
Following the surgery, the 54-year-old coach spent the remaining part of the 2021 season in the confines of a wheelchair. After a diagnosis was concluded, Sanders learned that not only did he have a family history of blood clots but that he was at risk for possibly having his leg amputated.
“The hardest thing of it all was to look down there and see that, and understand that once upon a time, you were this type of athlete,” Sanders said. “And you don’t even know if you’re gonna walk because all you feel is pain, and you just want to get out of this hospital. You just want to get out.”